We’re delighted to announce that Henry Fry’s debut novel First Time For Everything, has been acquired by Orion Fiction UK in a three-way auction, Ballantine (Penguin Random House US) and Doubleday Canada at auction, and optioned by Moonriver TV for a series with Henry attached to adapt himself.

First Time for Everything is an unflinchingly honest, poignant drama comedy about Danny Scudd, a shy, twenty-something gay man who’s made it through life by not really interacting with his sexuality. For the first time in his life he sets out in search of his most authentic self (with the help of his colourful flatmates and inscrutable therapist), exploring the fun and exuberance of modern queer life, with many missteps along the way. This is a story about love, self-acceptance and working out how you fit in the world.

Editorial director Charlotte Mursell snapped up UK & Commonwealth rights in two books from Hayley Steed, with the first book set to be published in hardback, eBook and audio in May 2022. Additionally, North American rights were acquired for a six-figure sum at auction by Jesse Shuman at Ballantine, Penguin Random House in a joint bid with Bhavna Chauhan at Doubleday, Penguin Random House Canada, who will publish simultaneously in Spring 2022.

TV rights have also been sold by Hannah Ladds to Moonriver TV, with Henry adapting his own novel into an eight-part comedy drama series and set to Executive Produce alongside Moonriver’s Casey Herbert and founder, Xavier Marchand. Moonriver TV is a London-based production company dedicated to producing prestigious, ambitious television productions with global appeal. Television projects in development include: A Gentleman In Moscow, adapted from Amor Towles’ NYT bestselling novel, with Tom Harper (The Aeronauts, Wild Rose, War & Peace) directing, and Kenneth Branagh attached to star and Supper With the Crippens, adapted from David James Smith’s non-fiction book of the same name, with Amber Trentham writing.

Mursell commented: “Wickedly funny and gloriously cringeworthy, First Time for Everything is a complete gut punch of a read that I gulped down in one sitting. Henry has that rare ability to make your skin shrivel and your heart burst in the very same line – I knew as soon as I started reading his extraordinary and utterly refreshing debut that I had to publish it. We couldn’t be more thrilled that Henry has chosen Orion Fiction to be his publishers.”

Fry says: ‘With this book, I wanted to capture the love and light, comedy and community of modern queer life while interrogating the specific difficulties and intricacies of those experiences. Growing up, all queer stories I read or saw were characterised by violence and cruelty – I didn’t realise you can actually have an amazing life as an LGBT+ person as long as you find where you belong.

Congratulations to Henry on these amazing acquisitions, and we’re so excited for future readers and viewers to discover this wonderful debut.